Looks like palm trees are no longer just for shade on a sunny day. The first of 103 solar-powered Smart Palms has been installed on Jumeirah beach in Dubai. The solar palm trees, or "self-sustaining community tech hubs" will be installed on every public beach in the city as part of an ambitious goal to convert Dubai into a "Smart City". The solar stations provide beach goers with Wi-Fi, multiple charging stations for phones and tablets, as well as updated weather information and local announcements.
Running solely on solar power, the large palm tree-shaped towers are six and a half meters high with 13.8 square meters of solar panels covering the leaves. Additionally, they come installed with eight charging stations and offer a Wi-Fi broadcast range of 200 meters with capacity to connect at least 50 users at one time. And for those sailors out there, the trees have updated information on current weather as well as local sea conditions. The trees will be illuminated at night using the system’s stored solar energy.
The director general of Dubai municipality, Hussain Lootah, explained the importance of the project to the area, “Under the guidance of our leaders, Dubai has developed an international reputation as a place for technology and innovation. Through Smart Palm, the public will be able to benefit from free direct access to the internet while providing valuable public information covering a range of topics including weather forecasts and orientation guides.
“Most importantly, these structures are entirely self-sufficient thanks to their mono crystal solar panels, which provide up to 21 per cent efficiency.”
If you think the Smart Palm team is about to rest on their solar-energized laurels, you have another thing coming. Next up for the project is full-scale production of the Smart Palm via 3D printing.
Images via Smart Palm